What are the civil consequences if you are injured in a motor vehicle collision and you failed to wear a seat belt? Seat belts have been hailed as the most significant automotive safety device since the automobile’s advent. However, with the fully electric car manufacturer, Tesla, having implemented in its cars partial Autopilot as of November 2015 – which statistically is four times safer than a human driver – this claim may not hold true much longer. Nevertheless, statistics show front seat passenger car occupants who wear a seatbelt reduce their risk of fatal injury by 45%.
Because the seat belt is so effective in reducing injuries it is considered in many jurisdictions contributory negligence on the part of the injured victim for failure to wear a seat belt. Despite this the seat belt defense was not always accepted in Canada and indeed, even today the seatbelt defense is very controversial in the United States as most of states do not recognize it.
In the United States, thirty (30) states currently do not have a seat belt defence in place. Those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. What is even more interesting about this list is that twenty-six (26) of these states not only don’t have statutes which allow for a portion of negligence to the plaintiff for failure to wear a seat belt, but twenty-six (26) states have laws prohibiting evidence one way or the other whether or not the plaintiff wore his or her seat belt. Obviously, it is then prohibited from even arguing the plaintiff was contributory negligence since the defense insurance company would not even be able to submit evidence of use or non-use of the seat belt. The fact that these states went to this extent shows that there is a great deal of controversy on this type of argument.
There are fifteen (15) states that do in fact have statutes in place which may result in a reduction of the plaintiff’s damages for failure to wear a seat belt. These states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Note not all fifteen (15) states have actual active legislation allowing seat belt defense arguments, as some states have developed it by “common law” or, in other words, through judicial decision making which has allowed the defense – and the state has not seen fit to intervene subsequently to prohibit such arguments.
Oddly, as of 2018 Hawaii and North Dakota do not have statutes dealing with the seat belt defense nor have the courts specifically allowed the seat belt defense. As well, Indiana, Mississippi and Nevada also do not have statutes or case law specifically prohibiting a reduction in damages as a result of a plaintiff failing to wear a seat belt. So, it is still an open question in these states.
It should be noted that where the seat belt defense is allowed some of the states severely limit the amount of contributory negligence which may be placed on the plaintiff. For example, Missouri will only allow 1% attributed to the plaintiff for failure to wear a seat belt! Iowa. Michigan and Oregon will only allow up to 5% and Wisconsin the limit is 15%.
In contrast in Canada, the seat belt defense has been widely adopted across the country and failure to wear a seat belt has resulted in reductions in the award to innocent victims of 10% to 30%.
Nevertheless, the seat belt defense is not easy for the auto insurance company’s personal injury lawyer to prove. The burden of proof is on the auto insurance company’s personal injury lawyer to show, that on a balance of probabilities:
- The plaintiff failed to wear his/her seat belt;
- A seat belt was available and functional;
- Seat belt usage would have reduced or eliminated the plaintiff’s injuries.
Establishing number 1 is quite easy today as the majority of vehicles have seat belt sensors which capture the status of seat belts at the time of collision. This data may then be downloaded and interpreted from the “Event Data Recorder” (like the black box on and airplane) by a car accident-reconstructionist.
It becomes more complicated in establishing if the seat belt was functional – number 2 above. For example, in the very large Ford Expedition vehicle, for several model years, the third-row seat has seat belts with shoulder harnesses, which have been proven in several cases would not hold a young child in place which resulted in the child being ejected in a rollover. Fortunately, however, this is a rare situation and seat belts are typically available and functional.
The usual argument in many cases to defeat a reduction for failure to wear a seatbelt is that in a severe collision the seat belt would not have reduced or eliminated the plaintiff’s injuries (point number 3 above). To prove that the seat belt would have made a difference, the defendant auto insurance company must hire not only an accident-reconstructionist but also a bio-mechanical engineer. A bio-mechanical engineer is an expert regarding the impact of the collision, in the medical sense, the
forces would have upon a human body. If it is shown that the injured victim would have sustained similar injuries or different injuries but of similar or greater severity, a seat belt defense will not be successful.
This is an important issue as if the defendant auto insurance company is successful in arguing contributory negligence the “innocent” victim’s award can be reduced up to 30%. As this short survey indicates the “seat belt defense” or attributing negligence to the plaintiff who is otherwise completely innocent for an accident, but reducing damages for failing to wear a seat belt is a highly controversial issue among state lawmakers and judicial decision makers, not to mention plaintiffs, lawyers and insurance defense lawyers. Since the laws are so variable state to state and country to country one way to always defeat the seat belt defense argument is to always wear your seat belt regardless of where you are traveling.
Written by: Brent Handel, J.D., Q.C from Handel Law Firm
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Have you recently been injured in a car accident? If you have, you may be wondering whether or not you should hire a personal injury lawyer. After all, he could help you file your claim against the insurance agency.
To find out what you should do, take a look below.
We’ll provide a clear guide to when you need to work with a personal injury lawyer versus when it may not be necessary. With this information, you can make the best decision for your current situation.
When Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you want to, you can file your personal injury claim against the insurance agency completely on your own.
To do that, though, you need to have time available to research the claims process. Submitting a claim is easier when you only sustain a mild injury.
If you have time on your hands and haven’t sustained any serious injuries, you may be better off just to file the claim yourself.
Since you only have mild injuries, your case isn’t going to be too complex, so you won’t have as much need for an attorney for personal injury. Plus, you won’t have to worry about figuring out how to find them.
What’s more? Attorneys don’t work for free. If you want to save money and not have to pay legal fees, it’s best to represent yourself.
The severity of injuries is often determined by the following factors:
- The type of injury (or injuries)
- The cost of your medical bills
- How long it will take to recover
Severe injuries typically fall into two categories. They are either long-term injuries that may take a year or more to fully recover from, or permanent – meaning you will be disabled for the restof your life.
If you’re in a car accident and sustain a serious injury (or multiple injuries), you’ll want to have a personal injury lawyer represent you. They will have access to more resources than you do and can help you win your case.
If you’re located in Phoenix, Arizona, for example, and have recently been seriously injured, Zanes Law will work with you. It’s no need to worry about the bill until they’re successful in recovering your financial compensation. This is an example of a firm that operates on a contingency fee.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent You Today
In the event that you have sustained a long-term or permanent injury as a result of a car accident, hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you.
With our easy to use “Search for a Lawyer” function, you can find the right lawyer for you faster than you can say “We won!”
Don’t wait. Resolve your case today!
Did you now that there are over 6 million car accidents in the United States each year? Not only that, 1 in 3 of these accidents involve injury to the driver or passengers, and 2 out of 10 involves fatalities.
Given these shocking figures, it’s surprising to learn that not everyone knows what to do after a minor car accident. But there are things you can do to help protect yourself and your interests.
Let’s take a look at a few.
Wondering What to Do After a Minor Car Accident? Here’s a Checklist
Even if nobody is hurt, the next steps you take are important. Here’s a post-accident checklist to help.
The first thing to remember when you are involved in a wreck is to never leave the scene of an accident. Even if it appears minor and no one seems to be hurt, leave everything as is until the police arrive.
Protect the Scene of the Accident
You need to protect the scene as best you can until the police arrive so that they can get an understanding of what happened for the police report, as well as accurately note who was at fault for traffic citations and for insurance purposes.
Keep your flashers and lights on. Then wait in your car, or stand by the side of the road. If it’s dark out, keep a flashlight with you if possible and set out road flares.
Call the Police
You should always call the police immediately, even if it looks like there might be no serious injuries. Police officers will need to fill out an accident report, and this report will then be used when filing your insurance claim.
Remember, it’s very important to never move any vehicles involved in the accident until the police have arrived.
Make Note of Exactly What Happened
Once the police have arrived on the scene, you will need to provide a statement of exactly what happened. It’s important to be as detailed as possible, but don’t speculate.
Pay close attention to any pain or injuries you might have, and be aware that many injuries might not become apparent until hours or even days following the collision.
While you’re at the scene, pay attention to what the other person is telling the police to be sure their description of events is accurate.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Use a camera or your phone to take photos of the scene. Photographic evidence could be very important if there should be any legal repercussions or any issues with insurance claims.
Also, take photos of any injuries as soon as possible immediately following the accident.
Exchange Info with the Other Driver
Make sure everyone exchanges contact info at the scene.
Part of police procedure is to make sure the parties involved have each other’s information, but they do not always respond to an accident call. If this is the case, make sure to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons involved.
Call Your Insurance Company
Try to contact your insurance company at the scene of the accident and let me know if the other party failed to yield. Ask them exactly what your policy covers, including any medical benefits. They will be able to provide detailed advice on what to do after a minor car accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Another part of knowing what to do after a minor car accident is to seek proper medical attention.
Whenever you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it can be scary, and with the excitement comes a rush of adrenaline that might temporarily delay the pain reaction to many injuries.
Days could pass before you realize you’ve been injured at all. Pay close attention to any stiffness or soreness, and keep detailed notes of whatever discomfort you might be experiencing.
It’s not uncommon for serious injuries to not be immediately noticed. People frequently sustain serious and even permanent injuries as a result of seemingly minor accidents. If you begin noticing pain, go to the emergency room immediately, or visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Keep Good Records
It’s a great idea to keep a file with all documentation related to the accident. Insurance paperwork, a copy of the police report, photos of the accident, as well as any documents regarding medical treatment you’ve received.
Keep a record of names and phone numbers, including the claims adjuster handling the case, the contact info of the other person involved, as well as rental car receipts and other expenses you’ve accumulated.
Protect Your Legal Rights
One of the most important things to do immediately following the accident is to get in touch with a good auto accident attorney. Motor vehicle accidents can have many complications, involving numerous people and insurance companies.
A skilled attorney will know how to protect your rights, and keep you from getting bullied by any of the parties involved. There are many factors to take into account, and they will know how to make sure you are fully compensated.
Remember, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so they won’t be paid until you’ve been fully compensated for your injuries and for damage to your property.
Things to do Before an Accident
We recommend packing a safety kit, with a flashlight, road flares, water, jumper cables and blankets. You never know what kind of weather conditions you’ll find yourself in at the time of an accident.
Be sure to have your phone charged when you leave the house, this way you won’t be low on battery when an emergency arises. Otherwise, play it safe and consider getting a car battery replacement instead. And make certain you have all proper documentation such as insurance cards, health plan, and vehicle registration at the ready in the glove box.
The more you are prepared for what to do after a minor car accident, the less stressful the experience will be.
The reality of life is that accidents happen, but by paying attention, and keeping track of important details, you’ll be better prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Click here to for tips on how to deal with a personal injury lawyer.
Car accidents can happen to anyone, even the most careful of drivers. If you ever find yourself involved in a vehicle accident, you want to be prepared. In the moments following a collision, you may be scared, stressed, or confused. Knowing what to expect can help ensure that you acquire the information and documentation you need to make a claim later on. This is especially important if anyone in the vehicle suffers a personal injury or if your car has received extensive damage. Here’s what you can expect after a car accident and what you should do to protect your interests and legal rights.
Assess the Scene
First things first – never leave the scene of an accident you were involved in. Stick around until you can talk to the police, even in the event of a minor collision. If the car accident was minor, move your vehicle out of traffic to avoid a second collision from occurring. Shift your vehicle into park, turn the car off, and turn your hazard lights on. If you have them, use warning triangles, cones, or flares to warn other drivers. Call the police immediately to get a written document of what occurred during the car accident.
Once you’ve established that you are in a safe area, check yourself and others in the vehicle for injuries. If anyone is injured or you believe someone may have a hidden injury, call an ambulance. Next, you’ll want to make an accurate record of the accident. When the police arrive to the scene, tell them exactly what had happened using only facts, not assumptions. If you have a cell phone or camera with you, take photographs of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, any damage to the vehicle or surrounding structures, and any injuries that may have occurred from the car accident.
While you typically only need to share your name and insurance information with the other driver involved, it’s best to collect as much information as possible to be safe. If possible, ask to see the other driver’s license to confirm his or her identity. You may also want to obtain other critical information, such as the names of all passengers in the other vehicle, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, vehicle description, and the names and contact information of eye witnesses to the car accident. Also write down the address or location of the accident scene, as well as the names and badge numbers of the officers.
Report the Accident
Following a car accident, you want to notify your insurance company as soon as possible, even if the accident was not your fault. Many car insurance policies actually require you to report any type of accident immediately. If you were injured during the accident, you may want to acquire information about any medical benefits you may have as part of your insurance coverage. This type of coverage is known as “medpay” and may be included in your car insurance policy and should be used if you have it. If you do have medpay, you will likely have to submit any medical bills stemming from the accident directly to your insurance company. However, if you are still not protected from such unforeseeable circumstances, click website here to get yourself covered.
If you still have (medical bills) leftover after your medpay benefits are exhausted, your primary health insurance should then cover the remaining costs. If you are found to be at fault for the accident, you may be responsible for the other driver’s medical bills. This amount should be covered up to the limits set in your bodily injury liability coverage. If the other driver is found responsible for the accident, he or she will likely be required to pay for your medical bills. However, you will likely need the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to attain the proper compensation for your injuries.
Filing a Claim
If you are found responsible for the car accident, you may be weighing your options. It may seem tempting to simply offer to pay for the other driver’s vehicle repairs out of pocket. However, this can be more costly than you think. Even repairs that look minor could end up costing you thousands of dollars. If you do leave your insurance company to pay for the bill, you could wind up with a premium increase that can last upwards of three years. If you have “accident forgiveness,” your premiums may not increase.
If the other driver was responsible for the accident, you’ll want to ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve based on the extent of the damage. The other driver’s insurance company may offer a settlement. Many times, the settlement offer is unsatisfactory and may not cover the total cost to repair your car or pay for your medical bills. Before signing any documents, you’ll want to consult with an attorney.
Hire an Attorney
If anyone was injured in the car accident or you feel that you are being untreated fairly regarding your settlement, it is best to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. A skilled lawyer with experience dealing with car accident cases can help maximize your recovery and defend your legal rights in the event that the accident was your fault. While many insurance companies want to take statements immediately after a car accident, it’s best to first talk with an attorney to ensure that you do not say anything that could be found incriminating.
Know that when you work with a car accident lawyer they have your best interests at heart. They also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no legal fees for you unless your lawyer recovers compensation if you receive a settlement or are awarded damages. This can provide peace of mind as you try to navigate through the complex legal system. Having a legal expert on your side can also ensure that you take the right steps towards a beneficial resolution.
In the U.S., around 3 million people suffer injuries as a result of a car accident every year. While some of these injuries are minor, others cause permanent disability.
If you’re hurt in an auto accident, it’s important you protect yourself. You have rights, but you may need to hire a car accident lawyer to get the compensation you deserve.
Simple fender benders may not need the involvement of attorneys or the police. But other accidents, even if they seem minor, could result in financial loss.
If you aren’t sure whether you should hire an attorney after an accident, keep reading. We’re going over some signs that indicate a need for legal representation.
The Other Driver Was at Fault
If the other driver caused the accident that resulted in your injury, you deserve compensation. However, getting this compensation is easier said than done.
The other driver may dispute their fault. This means you need an experienced car accident lawyer to evaluate the case.
It’s important to understand that even if the witnesses along with the police report indicate the other party was at fault, you may still need to prove negligence. Negligence means that the other driver neglected their responsibility to drive safely.
Proving negligence is a huge determining factor in a personal injury case. An experienced attorney has an intimate knowledge of your state’s personal injury laws. They can investigate your accident to uncover whether the other driver was, in fact, acting irresponsibly.
You Have Long-Term Injuries
Long-term injuries can last for up to a year or more. Permanent injuries cause some type of disability for the rest of a person’s life. These have a devastating impact on your ability to work and live comfortably.
It’s often difficult to prove the extent of your injuries and that they resulted from the accident.
This is where a car accident lawyer is invaluable.
They can evaluate your medical situation, speak with your doctors, and build a solid case against the other party. They’ll also take the pain and suffering of you and your family into consideration when determining what damages to fight for.
Doing this alone, while also dealing with an injury, may end in a settlement far below what you’re entitled to.
You’re Dealing with an Insurance Company
If the other driver is at fault, their insurance will pay out for your injuries during a claim. However, this could quickly turn messy.
An insurance company’s goal is to keep their costs down. They often try to lowball victims of accidents.
They sometimes resort to intimidation tactics to get you to agree to a lower amount.
Furthermore, the insurance company may deny the claim altogether.
This is why you need a car accident lawyer on your side. They have experience dealing with insurance companies and can help protect you from being taken advantage of. Make sure you find a firm like Bill Connor Law, who handles personal injury and insurance litigation.
In addition, when an insurance company sees you have an attorney, there’s a better chance they’ll settle out of court for a fair price. Having an advocate in your corner who knows the law greatly increases your chances of getting the damages you deserve.
The Uninsured Driver
Most drivers on the road carry auto insurance. However, if you’ve sustained injuries in an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s critical you hire a car accident lawyer immediately.
Your own insurance policy probably includes uninsured driver coverage. This protects you financially if you have an accident with an uninsured motorist. Unfortunately, this coverage may not be enough to cover medical bills along with damage to your car.
Without an attorney, you run the risk of having to pay out of pocket for medical pr
oblems that were someone else’s fault.
An attorney can determine what options you have for obtaining compensation. You may need to do a personal property securities register rev’s check and file a civil suit against the uninsured party for damages. In this case, a good lawyer is essential.
You Have No Experience with Personal Injury Claims
Some people can successfully file their own personal injury claims after an accident. These individuals likely have experience with the process.
If you’re not one of these people, you need an attorney. The procedures involved in filing a claim are very detailed. There’s a lot of paperwork and court deadlines you must adhere to.
Furthermore, personal injury laws have a statute of limitations that vary from state to state.
Trying to navigate the legal process yourself could result in missing out on thousands of dollars.
A car accident lawyer knows how to look at the details of a case and determine what amount to fight for. There are personal injury settlement calculators online, but these don’t provide an accurate estimate.
When you hire an attorney, they take care of all the necessary paperwork and guide you through the legal process. In Austin car accident lawyers can be very helpful to get the right compensation.
You’re Dealing with Lost Wages
A serious injury could result in time away from work and lost wages. In some cases, a person’s injuries are so severe they either lose their job or have to quit.
If you’re dealing with lost wages after an accident, you’re in a vulnerable position. You need an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.
A personal injury lawyer takes your lost wages into account when determining the value of your case. If your future income is at stake because of injuries, they can fight to get you compensation for this.
It’s important to remember that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t have to pay attorney fees until they settle your case.
Find a Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’re injured in an auto accident and any of these situations apply to you, you need to get legal representation. Deciding to handle the case on your own could result in unfair compensation for your injuries.
If you need to find quality legal representation, search our directory for an attorney in your area.
A positive attorney-client relationship is essential for a productive personal injury case. There should be mutual trust and respect for each other’s time. However, sometimes the relationship between a lawyer and their client goes sour due to unavoidable reasons.
What action can you take if you have lost confidence in your attorney? Could you hire another personal injury lawyer after signing a retainer with the first one? Will it have any financial consequences? Continue reading this post to find answers to these questions and others if you’re considering firing your personal injury attorney.
About Firing a Personal Injury Lawyer
You have the right to fire your personal injury lawyer if you think that he or she is not acting in your best interest, or not performing their duties to your expectations. You can also fire a personal injury lawyer for any reason. It may be that you think that the attorney doesn’t respond to your queries or if you believe that he or she has acted unprofessionally such as wasting time in the meeting, not being prepared for a court hearing, or mishandling documents or funds.
Whatever the reason for firing your lawyer, make sure that you do so in writing. Send a letter, email, or fax explaining why you do not wish the legal professional to work on your case anymore. Request the attorney to stop working on your case and tell them where they should send your documents. Also, it’s important that you retain a copy of any document that you send to the attorney.
When firing a lawyer, you should act courteously. Avoid making any threats or complaint. This will help smooth the transition process. After writing the termination letter, there is no need to call the lawyer. All further correspondence should take place with your new personal injury attorney.
Will It Cost More Money When Terminating a Relationship with an Attorney?
Keep in mind that the fired personal injury attorney is entitled to a fee for service rendered. However, you won’t have to pay for the services from your pocket. After the personal injury case is resolved, the attorney fee will be divided based on ‘quantum meruit‘ — a reasonable value of the work done by each attorney.
A major chunk of the fees will go to an attorney who performs most of the work. In case both the attorneys performed equal work, the fee will be divided equally. How the fee is divided up is not your concern or responsibility. The case will be resolved by the two attorneys.
Additionally, the original attorney is entitled to place a lien against your case settlement if he/she doesn’t believe that the new attorney will voluntarily pay the fee he/she is entitled to. This is perfectly legal and normal practice.
Can the Attorney I Fired Contact Me?
Once you have given written notice that you are changing attorneys, in many states it’s actually illegal for the prior lawyer lawyer to contact you to discuss. In California, they can’t even contact you to ask why you fired them. So there will never be an uncomfortable ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ conversation.
If you find yourself in need of a new personal injury attorney, use the Personal Injury Guru lawyer directory to find the best attorney for your specific case. Finding an choosing a new injury lawyer is a stressful process, but this particular directory makes it easy to find a “Verified Guru” who has the experience to take on common or complex injury cases.
Every year on American roadways, millions of collisions occur that result in fatalities and severe injuries. In 2016, more than 37,461 people did not make it home to their loved ones. For the families who experience a tragic event like the loss of life or limb, the unforeseen consequences are life-altering.
Sadly, many accidents are preventable, and the sentiment is even more so for a truck accident attorney. These attorneys specialize in getting you the most money when it comes to dealing with a truck accident.
Context – The Shocking Numbers
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,079 large truck and bus crashes resulted in the loss of 4,564 lives. Sadly, most of these lives were preventable had the drivers not been negligent.
Annual data collected by the FMCSA shows that the commercial truck industry is problematic.
- 61% of accidents took place on rural roadways
- 27% occurred in work zones
- 17% of the drivers were speeding when a fatality occurred
- 6% were distracted drivers in which 16% were using a cell phone
A truck accident attorney becomes a crucial element for families who find themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with crafty insurance companies and their top-notch attorneys.
When people are dealing with the health of an injured person, the last thing they focus on is mounting bills or loss of income which is what insurance adjusters depend on to get you to settle.
Many families find themselves overwhelmed by years of recovery and out-of-pocket expenses because the companies who were liable refused to pay families for their losses fairly. For that reason, it is crucial to understand how to get the most compensation from a trucking accident.
Factors that Affect Compensation Amounts
- Type of injuries sustained
- Treatment received
- Future medical requirements
- Economic consequences of trucking accident like loss of work or out-of-pocket expenses and medical bills
- Physical and mental suffering
Liability is complicated when an accident involves a commercial vehicle because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires companies to obtain and maintain high-risk insurance policies. Commercial policies differ from regular vehicle coverage because occupants can sue the transportation company, the broker, the driver, and the shipper who initiated services.
Compensation for injuries sustained in a trucking accident can be higher depending on who has the most significant responsibility for the semi-truck and the cargo.
In addition to financial responsibility, there are also regulations that drivers must follow that can add to corporate negligence. Companies can be liable if they allow drivers to operate trucks while fatigued, fail to do maintenance checks, or permit operation of unsafe vehicles. Once legal negligence establishes, truck accident attorneys then look for additional evidence to build a case for higher claims.
The FMCSA requires both the driver and the company to follow strict guidelines when operating a semi-truck and trailer.
- Must maintain a daily log that adheres to Hours of Service operations.
- Required to have on hand the last seven days of driving records at all time.
- Must legally perform a daily vehicle inspection report (DVIR) at the end of the workday.
- Must maintain a record of driver and training credentials.
- Has only 24-hours to submit roadside inspections to their carriers.
Commercial Carrier Responsibilities:
- Must enforce a 60/70 driving rule and prove that the driver has a minimum of ten hours off before starting any new hauling trip.
- Must retain long-haul records for six months and short-haul for seven days.
- Maintain maintenance records up to 12 months that identifies the vehicle, inspections, and any repair records.
- Required to retain inspection reports for 14 months. A copy must be in the truck while in operation.
- Required to submit evidence of repairs to the state and keep a copy for 12 months.
Top Reasons for Driver Liability
- Erratic driving patterns
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle.
- Lack of visibility of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists makes this group of roadway users susceptible to higher death rates.
Why You Need to Hire an Truck Accident Attorney Quickly
Time is critical when suing for financial recovery after an injury because of the regulations for filing a claim for compensation. Moreover, accident investigators can better establish fault soon after a traffic collision occurs. There are also strict rules for record-keeping.
Truck accident attorneys know what needs to be done to gain information from the semi’s computer system that documents speed and driving conditions. Many of the trucks also have video surveillance which attorneys can request as evidence. If a person does not know what to do, the chances are that you will lose valuable information as the time passes.
As the driver of the truck already has legal representation, you need to equally be prepared to protect yourself from legal maneuvering that is meant to protect their interests instead of yours.
Benefits of Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney Include:
- The ability to recruit accident reconstruction professionals to prove negligence occurred.
- Has the financial capabilities to hire medical experts to establish liability.
- Knowledge of how to document accident through images, video, or witness accounts
- Understands how to examine records to find mistakes or omissions.
- Utilizes time to interview police officers, first responders, and medical staff to gauge negligence and extent of injuries.
- Understands the legal requirements to represent a client in court proceedings.
Regardless of whether the driver is distracted, impaired, or careless, an experienced truck accident attorney uses the gathered datasets to form a legal strategy to force companies to accept legal responsibility. With the discovery of negligence, semi-truck operators will also be forced to adhere to safety regulations which reduce the risk to other drivers.
At the end of the day what it boils down to is that you will be facing a corporate army. You will need someone just as skilled as their attorneys on your team to make sure you are not browbeat into a bad settlement. Hiring a truck accident attorney is the best decision you can make to protect yourself.
More than 2 million people suffer from whiplash in the United States each year. If you’ve been in an accident and been inflicted with a whiplash injury, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to whiplash injury compensation.
In this article, you’ll learn all about whiplash and whether you may be eligible to make a claim.
What is Whiplash?
If you’ve been in a situation and your head and neck were suddenly thrust backward and forward, you may have whiplash. This movement puts your cervical spine through extreme stresses due to the lightning-quick motions.
This force tears and stretches the tendons and muscles in your neck. Most of the time, you’ll recover within a few months. However, this will depend on your treatments which include exercise and pain medication, along with the severity of your whiplash. Some people experience ongoing complications and chronic neck pain.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain when moving your head forward and backward or from side to side
- Stiffness or pain when attempting to look over your shoulders
- Headaches at the base of your skull, radiating towards your forehead
- Numbness or tingling in your arms
- Loss of your neck’s range of motion
- Pain or tenderness in your arms, upper back, or shoulder
- Blurred vision
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
It’s important that you see a doctor as soon as you experience any whiplash symptoms or neck pain following a sports injury, car accident, or any other traumatic injury. That way, you can get an accurate and prompt diagnosis and rule out any other tissue damage or fractures that could also be contributing to your symptoms.
Do You Have Whiplash?
If you’ve been in an accident, you’ll need to file a police report. You also need to speak with anyone who witnessed the accident and exchange your insurance information with anyone else involved.
With whiplash, it’s not unusual to be pain-free immediately after the accident. Whiplash pain can take a few days to appear, which is why it’s a good idea to wait to settle the accident.
Even if you think you’re OK, be sure to visit the doctor as soon as you can after an accident. Get copies of the doctor’s records and observations, and keep all receipts.
If you’re diagnosed with whiplash, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s orders. Not only will this ensure that you heal as quickly as possible, but it will help when it’s time to claim for whiplash injury compensation.
Now is also the time to consider whether you need a lawyer. If you do use a lawyer, they can ensure that all steps are followed correctly and you receive any compensation you may be entitled to.
Your San Diego Injury Lawyer will also handle any contact necessary between any other parties’ insurers. And if you’re planning to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for your accident, it’s definitely a good idea to get legal representation.
Getting Whiplash Injury Compensation
Considering your neck is a relatively small body part, whiplash can be a painful and expensive injury. One of the most important aspects of making a claim? Doing it in a timely manner.
While your symptoms may take a little while to show, if the accident did happen months ago and you say you’ve been “living with the pain,” you may find that your insurer argues that the injury isn’t severe. This could mean that they provide you with less compensation or completely deny your claim.
Here are some things to consider when you’re looking for whiplash injury compensation:
If you’re making a claim through your insurance company, the company will use witness testimonies and crash diagrams to determine who is legally liable. If you were hit from behind, it’s likely that the driver who hit you will be found to be at fault. But the issue of legal liability can sometimes be difficult to determine.
Insurance companies will also look at how soon you sought treatment after the accident and to what extent that treatment was provided. If you were just taken to the emergency room immediately after your accident and didn’t have any other treatment.
If, however, you ended up having many physical therapy visits on the advice of a doctor, this will impact how much compensation you receive as it shows your injury needed more intense treatment.
Generally, the more severe your whiplash is, the more likely you are to receive compensation and the higher that compensation is likely to be. It’s important that you document both your whiplash injury and any other injuries you receive.
If your whiplash takes a long time to heal, it will be considered more severe and therefore more likely to receive compensation.
Whiplash can sometimes cause permanent damage. For that reason, even while your insurance company is handling your claim, you may need to look into disability and seek damages from the other party.
When it comes to whiplash injury compensation, insurance companies want to know how your daily life has been impacted by the accident. If you’re going about your normal job and day-to-day activities, you’ll receive less compensation than someone who has had their daily life massively impacted.
When you’re making a whiplash injury compensation claim, you can expect to speak to insurers multiple times. Your medical records will be requested, and if you had a car accident, an adjuster will want to see your car.
It’s important that you document everything if you think you may have whiplash. Keep track of any income you’ve lost, work you’ve missed, and receipts from medical appointments. Write a daily journal tracking drug usage, doctor visits, treatment, and pain.
Seeking whiplash injury compensation can be difficult as whiplash is a soft tissue injury, and unlike a broken bone, can’t be seen on an x-ray. For this reason, it’s worth talking to an experienced attorney. Get in touch today to learn how we can help.
Every year, 2.35 million people in the United States are injured or disabled in car accidents.
Unfortunately, not all of these people end up getting the compensation they deserve for the cost of their injuries. One reason for this is that, for many injuries, including whiplash symptoms don’t show up right away.
By the time people realize they’ve been injured, they often feel like it’s too late to try and seek compensation.
If you’ve just started experiencing whiplash symptoms after a car accident, keep reading. We’re taking you through everything you should do to make sure your treatment is paid for.
What is Whiplash?
First things first, let’s go over what whiplash even is.
Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when your neck muscles are strained from a rapid backward and forward movement.
This sudden movement, which often happens after you’ve been rear-ended, often stretches and tears the tendons and ligaments in the neck.
Common Whiplash Symptoms
Whiplash symptoms often present themselves within 24 hours. However, sometimes they take a few days to show up.
The following are some of the most common whiplash symptoms:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Headaches at the base of your skull
- Blurred vision
Some other, less common (but still serious) whiplash symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Chronic neck or shoulder pain
In rare cases, people with whiplash symptoms will notice their pain or numbness in their arms. They may also find moving their head to be painful. In these instances, immediate medical care is necessary.
Diagnosis for whiplash symptoms
A doctor will diagnose whiplash by first asking some questions about your injury and the pain or other whiplash symptoms you’re experiencing.
They’ll likely do a physical exam as well to check your range of motion. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs may also be used to help your doctor identify signs of whiplash symptoms. He or she will also use these tests to look for additional damage or inflammation.
Most people see their whiplash symptoms improve within a few weeks or months.
Occasionally, though, people with whiplash go on to experience chronic pain or headaches for years after their accident.
Whiplash Injury Claims
After you start experiencing whiplash symptoms, it can be difficult to get the compensation you need for your medical treatment.
These tips will help you get the help you deserve.
Seek Medical Treatment ASAP
As soon as you notice even the tiniest twinge of pain or discomfort make an appointment with your doctor. The sooner you get in for an examination, the sooner you’ll have evidence to support your claim.
Insurance adjusters are often suspicious of whiplash claims, especially since they don’t always come up immediately after an accident. However, if you have records from a physician proving you’ve been injured, you’re more likely to be successful.
Don’t Wait to File a Claim
Once your doctor has confirmed your injury, you need to start the claim process. Notify your insurance provider if you live in a no-fault state, or the provider of the at-fault driver’s insurance if your state allows lawsuits for personal injuries after an accident.
Make sure you notify the insurance company in writing of your injuries and your plan to file a claim.
The sooner you take these steps, the sooner you’re likely to be reimbursed for your medical expenses.
Document Your Expenses
Be sure to document all the money you spend along the way. Some expenses you’ll need to track include:
- Mileage to and from appointments
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Prescription costs
- Insurance co-pays
- Any other out-of-pocket costs related to your injury
Insurance adjusters will appreciate your thoroughness, and proper documentation can help speed up the reimbursement process of car accident lawyers.
Prepare for the Possibility of a Lawsuit
Sometimes, a lawsuit is necessary to get the money you’re owed. Maybe the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. Or, maybe the insurance adjuster decides not to pay out your claim.
If either of these situations occurs, your next step will be to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact a local car accident lawyer as soon as possible for advice on how to proceed.
Choosing the Right Car Accident Lawyer
There are lots of lawyers out there, but they’re not all equally equipped to help you get reimbursed for the expenses related to your injury.
In order to get what you’re owed, it’s important to work with a qualified, experienced lawyer. Keep these tips in mind when making your decision.
Ask About Their Experience
First things first, find out which types of injuries each candidate has the most experience with.
Some lawyers work exclusively with car accident victims. Others focus on work-related accidents or slip-and-fall injuries.
Meet Before Making a Decision
Try to sit down in person with the lawyer you’re thinking about hiring before you make a final decision. You’ll be able to get a better idea of their temperament and whether or not you’re comfortable working with them.
If you can’t meet in person, at least try to speak to them on the phone in whiplash symptoms.
Ask the Right Questions
During your meeting, be sure to ask the following questions. They’ll help you decide if a particular lawyer is right for your case:
- Where did you go to law school and when did you graduate?
- How long have you been practicing?
- What kinds of cases do you typically represent?
- How many cases have you handled that are similar to mine?
- What is your assessment of my case?
- What kind of settlement can I expect?
- Is a trial likely?
- How long do you think it’ll take to wrap up my case?
- What is the estimated cost of my case?
- Do I have to pay if we don’t get a settlement?
- Will you personally handle my case?
It might feel strange asking all these questions up front. But, remember that you’re hiring this person to represent you, and you have a right to answers before making a decision.
Find a Lawyer Today
If you’re struggling to find a lawyer near you, Halt Lawyer Directory is here to help.
It’s never been easier to find and compare local lawyers.
Simply type your location and the type of lawyer you’re looking for into our search tool to find all the options in your area.
Have additional questions or concerns? Feel free to send us a message today!
Car accidents involving long term or serious injuries require a car accident lawyer to get desirable outcome. Normally, people choose hiring a lawyer, after getting involved in some car crash resulting in monetary losses and personal injury.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Filing a personal claim of the injury against an insurance company may be done by you. But, if you have suffered mild injuries and have enough time to consider the process and legal claims, you can consider saving legal fees money.
Nevertheless, a car accident lawyer may be required as he can assist in going against a big auto insurance company. This attorney is aware of the procedural rules and personal injury laws that he can handle effectively the legwork on your behalf. Besides, the lawyer will be your advocate for the entire case.
The lawyers of the insurance company have knowledge to deny the claim or reduce compensation, thus, hiring an accident attorney is the ideal option.
Reasons to consult a car accident lawyer
Consider a car accident lawyer applies for:
- Auto accident injuries
- Severity of Injuries
Generally, the severity of personal injuries is measured:
- Injury type sustained.
- Length of time taken or takes to recover.
- Medical bills cost and other therapeutic procedures incurred.
This includes the estimated future medical procedures cost.
Permanent disabling or Long-Term Injuries
A long term injury is that which lasts for a year or may be even longer. At the same time a permanent injury disables for life. The personal injuries affect ability and quality of life. This means it is a tricky business and by all means it is only the injury attorney who can handle consulting each medical professional. In fact, they may request the medical professional’s presence also for the legal proceedings.
When an insurance company disagrees for the liability caused in the car crash means the company is claiming no proof of fault and so the insurance company will not pay for the damages. Such refusal to pay is rightly handled by car accident attorneys.
Tips to hire car accident lawyers
Focus on a car accident lawyer among the range of lawyers and choose. On choosing ensure your accident lawyer dedicates on personal injury accidents. Check with the lawyers:
Check if your lawyer deals with personal injury of a car accident. This is because some may concentrate on work-related accident injuries, slip and fall accidents and so on. Ensure the lawyer you choose has handled relating car accident cases and has proved beneficial.
Research about the lawyer yourself and nothing is powerful and worth than word of mouth even in this age and day. Hop online for their names and go through reviews to get an idea about their reputation.
Evaluate the comfort level with our lawyer. Check the lawyers success rate, evaluate your level of comfort and very importantly, he or she should listen to all that you say, answer your queries and work to your comfort and convenient. Above all these tips trust your gut and settle for a suitable personal injury lawyer.